Written Assignment (Due Week 7)

In Week 4, each student will be given an abstract related to material covered in the seminar. Using material in the abstract, students will be expected to propose a title and plausible experiments of the study with the following elements:

  • An appropriate title for the full paper.
  • At least two appropriate experiments with controls that could allow researchers to arrive at the key conclusions stated in the abstract.
  • The expected results from each proposed experiment, with a brief summary that outlines possible outcomes and how they might support or contradict key results described in the abstract.
  • Limit is four written double-spaced pages. 

Each assignment is expected to be less than four written pages (11 pt, Times New Roman). Experiments must be described in terms of overall method (including necessary major reagents and equipment), appropriate samples, and the key positive and negative controls required. Students are encouraged to draw a possible figure that might accompany each result, again highlighting positive and negative controls. Although material in the abstract might make the paper easily identifiable, students should not look up the original paper. The purpose of this assignment is to learn how to think experimentally in the context of the techniques and knowledge of various RNA species learned about in previous sessions. The instructors will be available to discuss the abstracts and the written assignments before the due date.

Oral Presentation (Due Week 13)

At the end of the course, each student will present a research publication to the class. Students will pick papers from a list of publications covering the field of RNA. Each presentation should use 4–8 slides, with 1–2 slides for an introduction, a short background to the paper and the key question investigated, and most importantly, 2–5 slides for the crucial experiments and controls. Students should include a discussion slide to summarize the key results from the paper and the remaining outstanding questions. We will discuss both the content of the presentations as well as possible improvements to the presentation style.